Shana & Micah's Victorian wedding with a dad-moon

Updated Oct 12 2015
 
Photos by: Harvest Moon Photography
Taking a moment- omg we did it!
Photos by Harvest Moon Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Shana, Speech Language Pathologist

Her offbeat partner: Micah, Illustrative Graphic Designer

Date and location of wedding: Queen Anne Victorian Mansion, Portland, Oregon — October 5, 2013

Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We are both hopeless romantics who wanted a night to remember — while still remaining authentic with our ideals, priorities, and budget. We ended up having a pretty amazing, down-to-earth wedding at the Queen Anne Victorian Mansion. We love antiques and time-traveling, and thought that a Victorian-inspired wedding would be just the ticket.

Welcome to our wedding!

Victorian newlyweds

We used nature and light to decorate most of the venue (gorgeous and FREE). The gardens were still in bloom and the trees were just starting to turn colors — plus everything smelled so fresh thanks to an entire week of rain before our wedding. And we were blessed with total sun, which was a miracle!

The table centerpieces were lanterns and sprigs of fresh herbs and plants from my mom's garden. We decorated the venue's altar with grape leaves and ivy, the aisle with flowers from the garden wired on the chairs, and we even used a bunch of tree branches that I rescued from the side of a road after a rainstorm.

We also used lanterns that lined a raised flower bed to commemorate the loved ones who we wished were there. One of my sisters decoupaged them with pictures, papers, and ribbon. Finally, my mom ended up sewing us about 100 yards of gorgeous bunting that we strung up all the way around the venue.

Father of the bride

Micah: We made Shana an eight-foot-tall wooden moon to symbolize her late father at the wedding. It took a lot of labor and love from all of us, but it was worth it to see her so happy. Plus, the dad-moon actually seemed to come alive during the course of the evening! So many photos were taken with the moon that it really did feel like he was there smiling and having a great time with us.

Here come the troops

Here she comes

Tell us about the ceremony:
We wrote it ourselves and tried to integrate verbiage that was spiritual and meaningful without being religious. Originally, our officiant urged us to write letters to each other to read as vows for the ceremony, but we were way too emotional to read through them on our own. So, we took the letters and used Micah's for the ceremony and mine for the vows.

Such a day as this

Exchanging vows

We decided to skip the unity activity and instead integrate the Celtic tradition of ringing a big bell, our wedding bell, as we kissed at the end of the ceremony. The tradition says that your wedding bell should be placed on the hearth of your new home. Then in the future, should you become angry with each other, you must ring that bell again and it will remind you of how you felt on your wedding day and of the love that you have for each other. Plus, we used it as the signal for our surprise hidden bagpiper to blast our recessional anthem song, "Highland Cathedral," right as we kissed. The guests were handed ceremony programs and homemade ribbon wands with bells attached so that they could join in with the ringing of the bell.

Saluting our piper

Our biggest challenge:
Micah: the first challenge was that we lost our original venue. We ended up booking a spot two hours away and coordinating with our vendors that we had already chosen which ended up being quite hairy for communication at times. We ended up making most of it work out.

Shana: My challenge was identifying what I needed to do, and then processing my feelings of being pretty isolated for most of the actual planning. Micah was finishing school and away for days in a row, and although he helped a lot, I felt a lot of pressure to make things work and ended up spending the majority of the summer on my laptop planning. My bridesmaids were all two hours south as well.

A wonderful cake based on Shana's design

My favorite moment:
I anticipated a large challenge in doing all the decorating ourselves, but the owner of our venue was lovely and allowed us access to the venue two days before the wedding in order to decorate. As extended family arrived, more and more hands pitched in, helping us set up lights, bunting, and chairs. They really helped with personalizing the venue. I was delighted to stand back and watch relatives who had never met, laughing and working together. It was during this time that I would share one of the last phone calls from my beloved aunt who couldn't make the trip. She would only live a month longer, but I feel like she was able to be there in her way, too.

Mother and grandmother lockets

My funniest moment:
Micah: I thought it was cute that Shana's grandpa chose the reception to ask me what Shana's last name would be. I got a kick out of that, for sure.

Shana: My grandpa was pretty adorable. It was really cute when he and his girlfriend danced all night long to our band. They were joined once in a while by other couples, but they pretty much kept our band busy and the guests entertained.

Our meaningful guest book

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
Micah: No matter how much you plan to take it easy and enjoy something, inevitably you will get swept up in the details and you just have to keep reminding yourself to slow down.

Shana: I am still learning the important lesson of not letting things that went wrong negatively affect my memories. Although there were some toughies, the reality is that I married my best friend surrounded by the people we loved. I feel so fortunate to be able to say that.

Shana & Micah's secret last dance

A beautiful send off

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. You two did an amazing job capturing the late 19th century. It looks like you both stepped out of a different time and place. I adored the dad moon too. What a great tribute. Well done all around! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you so much! We are pretty much always feeling from a different time and place, and were so happy that our wedding could reflect that ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Sobbing. I don't know if it's hormones or "I want to be engaged so I can plan my dream wedding" fever but ugh… So beautiful! Congratulations to the lovely couple.

  3. The bride was absolutely GORGEOUS!! This was a beautiful wedding!!! The house, the free nature and lighting all very beautiful! This looked almost effortless, but I know better! Beautiful!!

  4. I was looking at your engagements photos on your Flickr and they are BEAUTIFUL! So full of personality and the location is amazing.

    • Thank you so much! We LOVED our wedding photographers, Russ and Jayme. They included a free engagement photo session into our package so that we could get to know each other and practice being photographed. We chose the location and they were totally into all our ideas- even when we wanted to continue our photo shoot into the pitch darkness up at the lighthouse. They loved being challenged and creative and told us later that they had a great time. We knew after that evening that we made the right choice and made memories and new friends, too!

  5. Oh my god, everything about your wedding was stunning! The dress, the veil, the groom's outfit, the decorations, the cake, and of course you two yourselves! You did an amazing job. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us!

    • Thank you so much- we really enjoyed the opportunity to express ourselves and support local businesses all along the way. The cake was made according to one of my sketches, and Micah made our cake topper! We just loved our baker, Laurie Clarke. Her flavors were so good- that it turned us into believers, even though we didn't think we wanted cake. Amazingly, that was one of the loudest comments that we heard from our guests: "OMG who made your cake?! All of the flavors were amazing", etc. The flavors were Chai Tea, Chocolate Malt, and Lemon something. All delicious but we chose the top tier to be chai tea- it was phenomenal.

      Also, we decided to bring our top tier along with us on our honeymoon and ate it slowly to savor with plenty of champagne! I highly recommend doing that, if possible, versus freezing the cake. We plan on having her make us another top tier for our one-year anniversary ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Beautiful! Congratulations! When I first read "Dad-Moon" I was worried one of the dads was caught mooning the wedding party or something! This actual Dad-Moon was much, much, much better!

    • OMG that's hilarious! And seriously, if my dad was actually at my wedding, I would have had to worry about a real dad "moon"! He was a fun loving guy and I'm sure somewhere he is giggling about that awesome joke that we are now thinking about his butt! <3 hehehe

  7. Lovely, LOVELY wedding and that CAKE!
    love the "forevermore" take on nevermore – everything looks amazing and everyone looks so happy! congratulations!

    • Thank you! I insisted on trying on my gown with it during alterations. Poor ladies at David's Bridal had to field quite a bit of "I want what SHE'S having!!!" It felt good to be so dramatic, like I was home ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Omg! Now I can't decide between a dad moon for Ed's dad and a passe tete! And the bell thing is like dragging me by my heart strings down the road like a sled behind a pack of husksies!

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